Category Archives: Relationships

Every Day is Valentine’s Day

Isn’t it interesting how so many new relationships are made around Valentines Day?  When  this day of love and romance  comes up, that pending questions will we be celebrating it together with this new person in our life comes up? Does this relationship mean the same to each of us?  That thrill or surprise to know that some one is interested in you and you in them can feel great?  Valentines Day can often be a day of thrill and surprises, and for  other’s it can also be a day of closings and endings.

It is interesting to see how love can be in the air when we as a society and as an individual make  set our focus on paying attention and doting on another person by sharing our feelings of love in so many special ways.   Alternately if you have been in a long term relationship or marriage, could your relationship benefit with a little more intimacy or fun?

This month of Valentine’s  I am offering enrichment sessions for couples that feel they are doing well and are stable who might want to share and explore greater intimacy together as a part of their ongoing commitment.   Give the gift of an enrichment session a great unique Valentine’s  Day Gift. Please call and ask for an appointment at your convenience, Saturdays are available for sessions as well.

Make every day Valentine’s Day by focusing on the love that you have in your life, that many come in many forms and that we so often take for granted. Remind yourself every day to be thankful.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all.

If you wish to contact me, please call my office telephone 479-225-0055, & leave a message. Thanks

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10 Reasons Why Not to Get Married

10  REASONS WHY NOT TO GET MARRIED

  1. If you need to marry just to take the wedding ceremony and party off your “Bucket List”.
  2. If you need to marry as a right of passage to become or to prove you are an “adult”.
  3. If I need to escape current controlling or unhappy family situation.
  4. If you feel no one else will ever ask you to marry again.
  5. If all your friends are getting married and you do not want to be left out and slide into it.
  6. If your child custody will be affected and you feel obligated to marry to keep your custody rights.
  7. If you are escaping a troubled relationship or a prior marriage that you are still emotionally tied to and you believe it is unbearable to live alone.
  8. If you or your partner is drug or other addiction dependent and you are getting married in hopes of resolving that issue.
  9.  If you hope that marrying  will eliminate other major disagreements or value conflicts in your couple.
  10. If you hardly know each other and one of you is being deployed soon and feel the need to marry before deployment.

 

Communication Problems

Often times one hears of couples saying they have “communication problems”.  Such a term is very often used and can be for the most part rather nebulous.   It can sometimes be a description for many other problems and or underlying issues in a relationship that have not been explored.

Couples for the most part to communicate very well either directly or indirectly their unhappiness, disappointment, resentment, contempt  or anger for each other.  Sometimes they punish each other by using avoidance, manipulation or intentional harm that they might be less than willing to talk about or admit to each other.  Often times in couples therapy the process of discovering the source of the discomfort  or negative patterns might take some time.

Many times the presenting problem of what the couple labels as the issue soon gets overridden by past wounds, hurts or betrayals that have been buried between them and unresolved. Often times these other issues come bubbling up.

Couples who have issues with “communication”  sometimes have been carrying these wounds or unfinished business in an indirect way for months or even years.  These unhealed wounds are often dragged along unresolved in the relationship and/or marriage longer than is healthy and this can impact their current relational health.

If left unresolved the couple may find that the misunderstanding can escalate very quickly and eventually destroy their relationship. Exploring these resentments, patterns of attachment styles and past wounds every so often sometimes can reconnect a couple.  Sometimes the help of a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists can be a good start for a couple to begin to tall openly and to reconnect once again and clear their communication channels.

How to tell your kids your marriage is over?

How do you tell your children your marriage is over?  Is  there a best way or worse way?  First of all make sure that both of you are certain that divorce is going to really happen and it is your final decision after exploring all other options.

Less than ideal ways are each for each  parent to  tell  the children at a different times and blaming the other parent, or doing some drastic changes in living situations without telling the children or their spouse. Also harmful is  passing messages through the children,, dating too early and not giving children time to grieve.   As a parent crying to or leaning on your children for emotional support for your separation or divorce because they are so “mature” and you feel they understand is not advised.  Showing your children your anger towards your ex is also not advised even if you feel you are in the right.  All these  are usually less than ideal and will put more stress on your children through the divorce and through the co-parenting  years that come after.

What might be better guide rules?  Having a joint  story that you both share together when you are both sure that divorce is inevitable is important.  Get  the story straight and stick to it,, and that should only be told  one time,  clearly and calmly, not every few months, or years.

Decide how to best tell children, when and where. Neither parent needs to be thrown under the bus in front of your kids.  Often times kids feel they are half of each parent  and the child begins to internalize that half of them is bad or if both parents insult each other they might feel that all of them is bad, so nothing they do is ok or matters.  Saying thing like you look or act just like your ex spouse is not helpful.  A child’s may worry that  they have some how have, or will in the future contribute to parental issue,  separation, or divorce  and feel guilty or sad. They are left in a loosing situation, that they feel can’t be resolved.

The divorce story should not include any thing bad about either parent, Try not to personalize and react to comments from your ex when negotiating or when setting up scheduling for your children. Let things fall without reaction. That is  easier said than done, and that is where a therapists might be able to help.  Anything you can do to reduce parental conflict is going to serve your children’s best interest and allow them to be happier and better adjusted after the transition.

A neutral  story,  may sound like …….”we do not love each other in ways parents  should or we do not get along any more and sometimes in adult love and in couples love thing can change..” Then emphasize that love for kids from a parent does not change, remind your children that  you both still love them now and will continue to love them always, followed by hugs or time to ask questions.  The children need to feel no sense of responsibility for the loss of your marriage. They also should not be made to feel  any responsibility to manage the relationship of their parents, keep you happy, be your confidant, keep your secrets or be your best friend.

That is why its so important to talk with a therapists who understands pre and post divorce issues.  The pain you might be  feeling , anger, animosity or maybe just a strong desire to move forward. Often times couples are not on the same page as far as wanting to divorce and this creates animosity, resentment and anger in the process of  the separation.  Children at different ages also may react differently.

So consider taking responsibility for your own actions  and for your language and reactions even in very difficult situations, in front of your children.   Love your children more than you hate your spouse , advance the needs of your children over your animosity , take a loving kindness approach.  Do it for your kids.

 

Valentine’s Day is Every Day

Not all counseling visits are to work on problems, sometimes they are just to make a good relationship better?  What a great way to celebrate Valentines Day than with a counseling for your couple to celebrate  and  reconnect in your commitment.  Why is it that we shower our loved one with unconditional love, sweet words, acts of affection and gifts only once a year?   Make every day Valentines Day!!

 

 

Is your intuition faster than your logic?

Ever feel like that little guy in front? Literally running for your life in a whirlwind of danger and betrayal? Think, feel or flee?
Your instincts are powerful messengers that should never be ignored or over ridden by you rational brain.  More and more we are talking in terms of having 3 brains,  a gut brain, heart brain and logical mind.
For most of us this sensor is active and functions well.  Some times this system can go faulty for may complex reasons, such as trauma or dissociation and then it might give us false danger readings.  In this article, we will assume that your intuitive powers are well calibrated and functioning as they were meant to.
If your gut brain is sensing danger and it is at an all time high and your fighting for what literally feels like your survival most of the time, do not let the logical mind talk you out of  what your gut is sensing. Often time we rationally tell ourselves the following excuses to ignore our gut:
-that its not what we are thinking or seeing
-that there is a perfectly logical explanation for what is going on
-that it really can’t be, that we must be too sensitive
-that this would never happen
-that we do not have all the facts and need more
-that this is the first & last time
 or finally…. it does not matter what behavior I see, since, they said they said they care about me or love me.
Maybe your chest is tight and in a panic or your stomach’s in a knot and you cant breath or you feel like throwing up? Trouble seeping waking up with fears?  These are messages from your intuitive body to pay attention, that you might be in emotional or physical danger.
Did you ever ignore the signs only to later find your self shocked by unexpected betrayals, abandonments, lies, infidelities and/or by the outright unexpected brutalities and sucker punches that came later? Often times the impact is worse especially by some one who says they “love you”, “would never hurt you”, or “are trying to protect you”.
Do you find your self “rationalizing unacceptable” behavior time and time again that puts you in harms way? Reducing your expectations so low that you violate your own standards for your minimally acceptable behavior?  Are you overriding your intuitive gut brain by rationalizing what just happened, might not be as dangerous or as unloving as your intuition is screaming out, that it is?
You intuitively knew something was just “not quite right”! Assurances by the other person to the contrary can be false, controlling and manipulative with the goal to quiet your inner fire alarm and continue to put you into an unsafe acceptance of an ongoing dangerous situations and liaison wit them.
Your intuitive “gut” brain is quicker and wiser than your other brains because it does not ponder to think and elaborate,  it works a million times faster and it is there to protect you from danger …..so honor it and RUN.
Carmen Cubillo, LAMFT, LAC, EMDR
NWA Marriage & Familly Therapy

Kindness (Poem by Naomi Shihab Nye, 1952)


 

Before you know what kindness really is

you must lose things,

feel the future dissolve in a moment

like salt in a weakened broth.

What you held in your hand,

what you counted and carefully saved,

all this must go so you know

how desolate the landscape can be

between the regions of kindness.

How you ride and ride

thinking the bus will never stop,

the passengers eating maize and chicken

will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness

you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho

lies dead by the side of the road.

You must see how this could be you,

how he too was someone

who journeyed through the night with plans

and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,

you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.

You must wake up with sorrow.

You must speak to it till your voice

catches the thread of all sorrows

and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,

only kindness that ties your shoes

and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,

only kindness that raises its head

from the crowd of the world to say

It is I you have been looking for,

and then goes with you everywhere

like a shadow or a friend.

 

-Picture credits:

Westwind Studios
Hand Crafted Web Design
http://westwindstudios.net

 

Power of Images, A Picture says a 1,000 words

That is an often used phrase.  So why is that? How is it that an image can be so powerful? Because we use only about ten percent of our brain power to process data, and to analyze. The subconscious mind and the other parts of our brain operate using emotions, pictures, stories, metaphors and images and connects and processes information at a much faster speed.  Some times this manifests as an intuitive sense in our “gut feeling” or a swelling of particular emotions after seeing an image or seeing some one.  Often times we are not paying attention to all of the images that we are exposed to on a daily basis that end up in our mind.

This is the reason that they say our first impressions of some one is so strong and lasting, and it is often made quickly with little verbal information mostly through the use of non verbal cues and often stays with us. Start noticing your first impression messages that you hear when you first meet some one.

Thus the importance of images and symbols to represent groups, cultures, religions, etc.  The media and advertisers understand the power of the image or logos better than most, when they use images and logos as marketing tools to reach us in ways we often do not even notice.  Researchers are using MRI scans to explore which areas of the brain light up when we are shown different images, in hopes of being able to recreating this stimulating effect in certain part of the brain in order to excite and influence our purchase selections.  There are many images that have become recognized throught history, like the swastika and the peace sign,  some are specific to a generation and or an epoch, some span a longer time period or are even reused or rebranded to have different meanings in later generations

The picture of this woman and her child came to symbolize the great depression and the hopeless poverty and difficult life people  were leading, it summed it all up in a moments glance and will for many years.

The image below even though it looks natural, was a staged for the picture, it was meant to emote  the joy of post war celebrations of having troops back home after WW ll.  A classic picture that has become a symbol for many people of that generation. Looking at this picture instantly brings back a flood of emotions  at a specific  time and place, without having to think logically or analyze any information for people of that era.  Many future generations can understand the message as well.  Images and pictures bring back eras, feelings and memories quickly inside us.

What images and pictures are important for you?

Drawing, and creating them even if we do not think we are artistic is nurturing and healing for us.  Having important images or pictures around us that can give us inspiration, solace, or strength, and as reminders of staying mindful of our intentions, aspirations, and beliefs while staying in our present moment experience are helpful reminders.

Use the power of images to help you set goals for your self and to know what it is that is important in your life.  Maybe use them to say sorry in a different, special and unique way.  If you are dating or in a relationship using images can be a fast way to connect and communicate with some one,  how you are feeling.  Share your feelings with pictures, artwork, symbols to those important ones in your life and connect in a fun way that can be uniquely yours.

Image result for picture of a heart cartoon

Anger & Idioms, our colorful expressions.

Anger seems to be one of our most  often used emotions and often our only “go to” emotion.  Real anger is rarely a primary emotion. Anger is so often expressed  that we have many idiomatic expressions in our language that describe how some people  may feel when they become angry.

We say expressions  like:

  • driving me up the wall
  • driving me nuts
  • hot under the collar
  • blowing off steam
  • blowing our top
  • hitting the ceiling
  • flying off the handle
  • blowing our stack
  • mad as a wet hen
  • rage quit
  • hissy fit

Do any of these sound familiar?  These are all colorful ways that have been weaved into the fabric of our vocabulary and that we use to communicate our frustration, fear, or thoughts of being overwhelmed.  Try for a moment to really notice where anger resides in your body when your feeling over the top angry?

Are you able to visualize any of these expressions? Can you see yourself literally driving up the wall? Seeing that in your minds eye might bring some level of humor to the situation . Ask yourself how important is this really now? And in 25 years?  Is it really about this situation now or maybe there are some unresolved feelings from past that you might not have even been aware of?

You might find that “seeing red” does not always have to be the end result of your anger once you are aware of having anger notice where it resides in your body and of your triggers, and how to release it …. noticing this mind body connection might open up the possibilities to seeing aqua blue, emerald green, sunshine yellow and many more. Take a moment to consider all the other different emotions that we choose from, or at least allow.

Image result for free downloadable images of driving up the wall

 

Attachment styles and your relationship?

Attachment styles and your relationships?  What is your attachment style in your relationship?

John Bowlby (British) and later Mary Ainsworth (Canadian ) pioneering research in developmental psychology, known for their work in early work in attachment.  Ainsworth research in attachment styles explored how a mother’s (ie. caretakers) and infants bond to each other.   She described  3 types of attachment styles in infants. Secure, Ambivalent and Avoidant attachment style.  Suggesting that these early attachment styles are learned from our primary care giver)s) in our early years.  We internalize them as road maps  to then later repeat as adults in our adult relationships.

Secure attachment style is of course the most stable style, yet only about 50% of population is able to create a secure attachment style.   This can create less than stable relationships and over all difficulty in long term relationships or marriage, if we do not fall into a secure attachment style. Secure attachment It is  stable, honest, intimate and manifests as a willing commitment to the other and to the relationship in the long run, even in hard times.

New research shows that attachment styles are both environmental meaning they can be learned by modeling and some speculate, some part might be inherent to us when we are born, as well. Also attachment styles  are now considered more fluid than before, where they were considered unable to change.  The new research shows that  if  some one can model a secure attachment style in a relationship or marriage to an ambivalent or avoidant  that is anxiously attached,  this person might in four or more years have a chance at being  able to change their style to a more secure attachment style.  How ever this is not a given and there are many other factors.

Ambivalent or Anxious attachments manifest with an inherent need to get a lot of affection and attentions, sometimes it never seems to be sufficient.  They are often insecure about  themselves and need a lot of affirmation form others.  They have a fear that their partner will some how  or abandon them, because they are not worthy  or they have a fear that their partner will cheat on them.  Worry seems to over ride trust, and they seem to pursue the other more.  They are usually uncomfortable alone and seek to be in a relationship at all costs even if it is not a healthy relationship.  Sometimes anxious attachment can manifest as a high need for control, or neediness vacillating with anger if unable to get needs met..  Having said that, all manifestations of control attempts of one partner over the other are not always just anxious attachment issues.

An Avoidantly attached person will feel suffocated with real intimacy or too much closeness and have the need for alot of alone time, a high need for privacy and possibly even stray to have other relationships.  They might find a securely attached person too regular and too boring.  Avoidantly attached individuals, like change and excitement they are not very emotionally vested in a relationship, and will be quick to end and restart another relationship without too much time in between.  Their focus is more on themselves and their work. They will be less interested in sharing intimate feelings/ Avoidant often will often leave their relationships when times get  difficult and they feel stressed.  Avoidant  have difficulty establishing a sense of “we” identity.

Newer research from Mary Main now points to fourth attachment style, the Disorganized Attachment style. This is created when the parent has unresolved abuse, trauma or loss, and disorientates the child growing up.  Parents are frightening or frightened and struggle with emotional regulation, the world is an unsafe place.  Disorganized attachment style is full of mixed messages, creating a very unstable environment for the child and later in adult their relationships. Often manifesting as a difficulty in managing stress and self regulation, poor social skills and trust issues.  The adult them will have difficulty with later parenting or in relationships over all.  People with disorganized attachment styles are less likely to feel they need help or to seek help. These styles can be explored in therapy as to how they impact the couple or the individual.

Once you are able to better make sense of what attachment style you developed as a child and how this map is still guiding your life today,  you will be able to gain insight and learn new skills.  Most people can learn to develop  a secure attachment style with time  and therapy or  a securely attached partner.   This information might be useful to know about yourself and your loved one when dating or when looking for a life partner.